how to hook up tow straps
Tow straps – sometimes referred to as tow ropes, tow lines or snatch straps – are a vital accessory when it comes to towing vehicles, or when a vehicle needs to be pulled out of a tricky situation. This article looks at the basics of how to hook up tow straps, and the precautions motorists must take in order to ensure the utmost safety.
Understanding Tow Straps
Tow straps are designed to be extremely durable, with a reliable Breaking Strength, or B.S., that can exceed over 18,000 lbs. The strap generally has a looped attachment at each end, enabling the strap to hook up easily to a vehicle's frame or tow hook. This is complemented by a sturdy strap material, usually made of polyester with reinforced stitching that can hold enormous amounts of tension.
When it comes to hooking up the tow strap, there are a few important safety considerations to take into account. For example, make sure that the connection points of the hook-up are of equal or higher strength than the tow strap itself – using an unsecured tow hook or acket as the point of attachment can be dangerous and can easily lead to a snapped strap.
Moreover, it is important to check the condition of the strap itself before attempting any hook-up. Make sure that the connection ends and stitching are in good condition, and that the strap is not frayed or worn out in any way. Never use a worn-down or damaged strap or hook-up point, as this could lead to an accident.
Hooking Up Tow Straps
The first step of hooking up tow straps is to attach the hook of the strap to the hook of the vehicle. Ensure that the hook is secured and tightened. Some manufacturers provide magnets to assist with the hooking-up process.
Next, ensure that the tow strap is fastened equally to each vehicle frame. Clear out any deis and dirt from the attachment point to prevent any slack from being created. Never pull the tow strap tight over any body panels, as this could lead to damage. The tow strap must also be fastened in an “X” formation. This will help to evenly distribute the tension when the vehicle is in tow and prevent any buildup of force in any one area.
Finally, it is important to select the appropriate lengths of the straps. Depending on the situation, too much slack in the strap could create hazards, and too little slack could overburden either or both of the vehicles. It's a good idea to check the intended route the tow will take, so that the appropriate lengths of strap can be selected.
When towing a car, it is vital that all vehicles involved follow the manufacturer’s weight limit as stated in the owner’s manual. Always ensure that the difference between both vehicles does not exceed more than two tonnes. This is especially important when it comes to towing a vehicle that has been stuck in a ditch or bog, as the weight of the car will be significantly higher due to the additional mud and water.
It's also advisable to never stretch the tow strap further than two-thirds of its full length. This is because stretching the strap more than two-thirds of its length could cause the hook to detach from the frame, resulting in an accident.
Finally, when the tow strap is being used in a towing situation, never stand close to the vehicles being towed. If the straps snap, they could cause serious injury or damage to any person or vehicle close by.
Hooking up a tow strap is a simple job that anyone can do, but it demands great caution. The key is to make sure the attachment points of each vehicle are secure, and that the strap is hooked up correctly. If any doubts are present, it is best to seek the assistance of a tow truck. Once all the safety checks have been made, towing can be done safely and securely.
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